Citation Information :
Chouchene F, Djait A, Masmoudi F, Baaziz A, Maatouk F, Ghedira H. Pediatricians’ Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice toward Early Childhood Caries in Tunisia. J South Asian Assoc Pediatr Dent 2021; 4 (1):27-32.
Background: Early Childhood Caries (ECC) constitutes a current worldwide oral health problem and pediatricians, as primary healthcare providers for children, play a critical role not only for children's oral health promotion but also for oral health prevention.
Aims and objectives: To assess the pediatrician's knowledge about ECC and to examine the current preventive oral health-related practices among Tunisian pediatricians.
Materials and methods: The study was designed as a cross-sectional study based on a structured close-ended questionnaire distributed among pediatricians working in private, general, and teaching hospitals selected from four governorates in Tunis, Tunisia. A total of 88 pediatricians participated in the study by filling out the questionnaire which was composed of three main sections; demographic characteristics, assessment of participants’ practice, knowledge, attitude about ECC, and assessment of their teaching in oral health during specialty training.
Results: The sample was made up of pediatricians of both genders (73.9% females and 26.1 males), aged between 26 years and 75 years with a mean age of 45.9 ± 1.23 years. About 76% of pediatricians (76%) know ECC, and 71% of them identified bottle-feeding as a risk factor of developing ECC with a higher percentage among private practice pediatricians (p < 0.05). The majority of pediatricians (99%) discouraged breastfeeding but only 49% of them advised against bottle-feeding with a higher percentage among pediatricians practising for >15 years (p < 0.05). Although all the pediatricians (98%) believed that they had a considerable role to play in children's oral diseases prevention, only 67% of them reported they had routinely examined the oral cavity of their young patients. A total of 53% rated the oral health content in their medical education as non-existent and deficient and 94% reported that they would like to have more oral health knowledge.
Conclusion: Pediatricians should improve their knowledge of children's oral health, and integrate it more into their daily practice. Oral health information programs should be developed for Tunisian pediatricians and included in Tunisian medical curricula and residency.
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